Recitation of the Holy Scripture.
Do you consider giving water to pilgrims and maintaining the Sacred Mosque the same as believing in God and the Last Day and striving in God’s path? They are not equal in God’s sight. God does not guide the unjust people.
Those who believe, emigrate and strive in the way of God with their wealth and their lives are greater in rank in the sight of God. And they are the successful.
Their Lord announces to them the good news of mercy from Him, and acceptance, and gardens wherein they will have lasting bliss.
They will abide in it forever. Indeed, with God is a great reward.
End of Recitation of the Holy Scripture.
In Part 30 of this dialogue, I told you about the battle of Jamal and then moved towards Muawiya who raised the entire country of Syria against Ali. Despite many efforts of negotiation by Ali the same year in July 657 AD the battle of Siffin took place between Ali and Mauwiya at Siffin on the banks of the Euphrates river, in what is now Raqqa in Syria. The two armies camped themselves at Siffin for more than one hundred days. Ali had 80,000 men, including 70 Companions of prophet who participated in the Battle of Badr, 70 Companions who took oath at Hudaibia, and 400 prominent Ansars and Muhajirun; while Muawiya had 120,000 Syrians. In 100 days Ali’s forces lost 25,000 men, while Muawiyah’s forces lost 45,000 soldiers. When a senior companion of Prophet Ammar bin Yasir fighting as a commander from Ali’s side killed by Syrian forces this created a great chaos is Syrians as there was a definite saying of Prophet that Ammar would be killed by an evil rebellion party and that Ammar would be inviting them towards good while they would be inviting him towards Hellfire. Seeing this Abdullah son of Amr bin Aas told his father this saying which then Amr bin Aas told to Mauwiya. Hearing this Mauwiya asked Amr to be silent on this, and not to let others hear the tradition of the Prophet, and he created a new logic that Ammar had actually been killed by Ali who brought him into the battle. Later when Ali came to know about this he replied that if he killed Ammar then Muhammad is the one who murdered Hamza bin Abdul-Muttalib.
After Ammar’s martyrdom Ali sent a message to Muawiya and challenged him to single combat, generously proposed to save the blood of the Muslims saying that whoever won should be the Caliph. Mauwiya declined and when Amr bin Aas his right hand asked him to do so he replied have you ever seen anyone fighting Ali and lived.
The next day army of Syria was about to be defeated because of the attacks made by Ali’s General Malik al-Ashtar. Seeing a complete defeat On the advice of Amr bin Aas the army of Muawiya put up copies of Qur’an on their swords, as a sign of agreeing that Qur’an be the arbiter in settling their dispute. This caused a division in the army of Ali. Some wanted to fight others not. Ali told them that this was but a deception, but ultimately, he had to accept the arbitration of the Quran. Ali proposed Abd Allah bin Abbas or Malik al-Ashtar as his arbiter and suggested Ahnaf bin Qays as a second choice or as assistance, but some people did not accept his recommendations and imposed Abu Musa al-Ashari to Ali as an arbiter. On the other hand people of Syria named Amr bin Aas as their representative for arbitration.
The two arbiters decided removal of both Ali and Muawiya and the election of the Caliph by a council. Amr bin Aas asked Abu Musa to announce the result of the arbitration ahead of him. Thus Abu Musa Ashari announced the removal of Ali, but when it came to Amr bin Aas instead of announcing the removal of Muawiya, he confirmed the dismissal of Ali and appointed Muawiya as the Caliph. Following this, there was a fight between these two arbiters and they abused and cursed each other. The two armies had already stopped the battle and Syrians and Mauwiya were successful in escaping the inevitable defeat of their army. After this, in later years Ali tried to attack Syria again, but people of Iraq and other areas did not comply with his orders.
Battle of Siffin, raising Quran on swords and this arbitration caused great division in Ali’s army. At that time Ali told his people that this act of bringing Quran is a conspiracy but a part of his people forced him for this arbitration. Those people called as Qurra i.e Quran readers, named so for their literalist reading of the Quran and their extreme and militant devotion to it. They broke away from Ali’s army and formed their own party called Kharijite those who exit OR the outsiders. Thus started the Battle of Nahrawan in 658 AD at Nahrawan few KM from Baghdad between Ali and the Kharijites commanded by Abdullah bin Wahb al-Rasibi which ended in a total defeat of the Kharijites. The Kharijites that survived the battle against Ali managed to flee to Basra, Sistan, Khorasan, Oman, Yemen, and elsewhere, where they had their offspring, spread their beliefs and recruited more followers. Three years later In 661 AD Ali is assassinated by a Kharijite called Abd-al-Rahman ibn Muljam and is buried in Najaf, Iraq.
Ali’s elder son Hassan appointed as Imam and Caliph. But Muawiya in Syria continued his efforts to become the ruler of all the Muslims so the internal fights continued. Hassan was soft in heart and did not like the further shedding of Muslims blood. He made a peace treaty with Muawiya with some conditions and stepped down and Muawiya became the Caliph the ruler of all Muslims. This act was disliked by the Banu Hashim and the Rivalry turned into Umayyah vs. Ahle Bait (family of the Prophet) and a large group of supporters of the family of prophet emerged called Shia. Later Hassan is poisoned and killed in 670 AD dominant opinion is that he was poisoned by his wife on instigation from her close relatives from Banu Ummayah. After this Hussein bin Ali becomes Imam of Ali’s followers.
In the peace treaty made by Hassan, it was mentioned that Muawiya would not appoint a successor for himself, but Muawiya appointed Yazid and on his death in 680 AD Yazid became Caliph. He was the first person who got caliphate by the appointment of his father in a hereditary manner as opposed to the tradition of previous caliphs.
Then Hussein, who is another son of Ali from Fatima daughter of Muhammad does not give his allegiance to Yazid. Yazid instructed his Governor Walid in Medina to force him to pledge allegiance to Yazid. In the meantime, a group in Kufa said Hussein that they would support him. Thus Hussain departed for Kufa from Madina. Yazid sends an army to stop them and to eliminate Hussein and his family so that there are no other legitimate claimants to the caliphate.
Hussein sent his cousin Muslim bin Aqeel to Kufa but when Yazid appointed Ubayd Allah bin Ziyad as governor the situation changed. Muslim bin Aqeel and his host, Hani bin Urwa, were executed on Dhu al-Hijjah 9, 60 AH 680 AD. Kufis broke their promise to Hussein and he went towards Karbala. Remeber Hussein is not commanding an army it was just his family and close relatives not more than 100 in number. Yazid’s forces under the command of Umar bin Sad intercept Hussein’s caravan in Karbala, and this is known in the Shia tradition as the Tragedy of Karbala in 680 AD. In which almost all of Hussein’s and prophet Muhammad family members Ahl e Bait massacred even his six month old son is beheaded and killed along with Hussein. After the battle, the army trampled the bodies of the martyrs, attacked the tents of surviving ones, took anything which were left as booty and set fire to the tents. Only one male from Hussein progeny saved which is Due to his illness, his name is Ali known as Zayn al-Abidin and Imam al-Sajjad. He and his sister Zaynab together with other women and children were taken captives by the army of Kufa. They put the heads on swords and spears and took them with the captives to Kufa to Ubayd Allah bin Ziyad and from there to Syria to Yazid.
Ali bin Hussain retired after Karbala and Muhammad bin Ali al-Hanafiyyah became the visible head of the house of Ali. It was in his name that Al-Mukhtar Thaqfi rebelled in Kufa in 686 and took revenge of Hussain and Ali Asghar’s martyrdom by killing those persons Harmala bin Kahil, who killed Ali Asghar Sanan bin Anas, who took part in Husayn’s killing, Umar bin Saad, who led the Umayyah army during the Karbala massacre and Shimr bin Thil Jawshan who beheaded Hussein.
Karbala is such a big tragedy in human history after Jesus crucifixion that I can go on and be talking about it for days and weeks. Whenever I think abo